best friends forever and ever

An art show @ Municipal Gallery of Kallithea „Sofia Laskaridou”
Concept-curated by COMOTIRIO 

Laskaridou Street 120, Kallithea
Municipal Gallery of Kallithea „Sofia Laskaridou”
5 - 10.07.2022

From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Thelma and Louise or the Sex and the City quartet, thousands of expert opinion articles try to unravel the mystery of female friendship, which is challenged and thoroughly examined: does it really exist?
Sofia Laskaridou, a painter with studies in Athens, Paris and Munich, achieved equal education for women at the Athens School of Fine Arts, while Thalia Flora-Karavia, having studied painting in Istanbul, Paris and Munich, was a war correspondent for the Alexandrian "Newspaper" in the First Balkan War. Their cosmopolitanism and social emancipation united them as they were breaking norms and stereotypes. They circulated alone in an era where the separation of action spheres between the two sexes prevailed -Laskaridou even carried a weapon to protect herself from thieves while painting in the countryside-, claiming their equal presence in the art world and their self-existent artistic entity.
In 1906 Laskaridou and Flora-Karavia held a joint exhibition at the Parnassos Literary Society in Athens. They were recognized as professional creators, something groundbreaking for the Greek reality of the time. On the occasion of this artistic synergy from 1906, we present the exhibition BFFEAE at the Municipal Gallery of Kallithea "Sofia Laskaridou" -former house of the painter and residential work by Ernst Ziller- focusing on the theme of female friendship and collaboration in the context of the contemporary Greek art scene.
Female collaborating schemes are presented, as well as new artistic collaborations based on the friendship of the creators. 👯👯👯👯👯👯👯👯

💝💖Participating artists: 2WO+1ΝΕ=2 | Marilena Aligizaki & Maro Michalakakos | ANAFANDON | The Brides of Maltepe | COMOTIRIO | European Network of Women in Greece | Flower Girls | Marina Gioti & Christelle Makris | Theodora Malamou & Myrto Xanthopoulou 



Denver, Colorado
installation, 2022
In the research for our new collection, inspired by Denver, Colorado, mainly during the 19th century and the Pike's Peak Gold Rush period, we came to the unexpected and pleasant conclusion that many women worked alongside men, in many cases surpassing them and even becoming pioneers in different fields. To name a few: Susan Anderson= One of the first women practising medicine in Colorado. Katrina Wolf Murat= German-born American pioneer, the first European woman in Denver and the maker of the first United States flag in Colorado. Lucile Mulhall= The first woman to be called a cowgirl. Colorado's Bertha Blanchett= The first woman to ride a bronc at the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Marilena Aligizaki & Maro Michalakakos
Cheires Avrai
performance / installation, mixed media, dimensions variable, 2022
Sofia Laskaridou’s life seems to be suspended after the suicide of her beloved Periklis Giannopoulos. The last story Periklis read to his friends, as a farewell the night before he died, was Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose” in his own translation. The same day that his body was washed ashore, Sofia found herself in Elefsina to wash him with myrrh, after having dreamed of him the night before. Based on these two elements of their "mythical" relationship, on the day of the exhibition opening, we will welcome the guests with rose water and treat them to a rose petal spoon sweet.

live performance, 2022 / video, 3’43’’, 2019
Who said that rebetiko and Greek folk music is not a woman's business? Usually the female presence in the rebetiko and folk tradition is exhausted in the voices of the Great Ladies. In our feast we take on all possible roles: Organ playing and singing. Rebetika and old folk. Aphrodite, Fani and Fotini, or else, Titi, Fa and Fo. Video from rehearsal at home: Song "Ase me pia". Lyrics: Panos Gavalas, Pitouras. Music: Kostas Stamatakis. Premiere performance: Panos Gavalas. Guest in the cajon: Antonis Gerogiannis. Extra lyrics: Aphrodite Bobora. Direction-video editing: George Kyvernitis. The song is played in a teased version with phrases from the song Romski Cocek.

The Brides of Maltepe
Episode #3
series of consecutive self-standing video episodes, 2015-, video, 18’40’’, 2018
The Brides of Maltepe seek to explore verbal transcriptions of relationships and confessions evolving around four families in Greece, Turkey and Germany. Living between three countries as both observers and circumstantial protagonists, the Brides attempt an introspective process, examining stereotypical and prevailing structures of transnational love and maverick forms of partnership. In their third episode, Persefoni is giving birth to her son in Berlin, while Eva is forced to face the nationalist stereotypes between Greece and Turkey in early childhood education. No matter what happens in their lives, they continue with infinite interest to expose their personal archives in order to establish a purple Aegean, that will constitute the nucleus for more “fertile” and “wet” bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey.  

Ε.Ν. & BFFEAE kit / COMOTIRIO version
installation, mixed media, dimensions variable, 2022
a) Double portrait. Captures a non-artificial pose, an ordinary, everyday one. Idols in profile, frontal position, profile again. Confirms coexistence, closeness, a relationship, a bond. Delimits a shared space; between us, among us and the spirits. What is left: painting, evaporation, two horses and the irrational.
b) A bow, what a bow! Gift kit, anniversary every Documenta, the most stylish wardrobe, we count hair rollers and blow glitter, best wishes! Ftou-ftou skorda-skorda spells, λίντερ.

European Network of Women in Greece
fabric dolls, dimensions variable
The European Network of Women Dolls are handicrafts made as bodies and painted faces initially by the trafficking victims hosted by ENOW in our shelter, under the artistic design and supervision of Niki Roubani and Anna-Maria Stefan, resident supervisor of the shelter, recently and prematurely deceased. The dolls’ face was designed so as to express the innocence of the victims as well as their struggle. They were dressed with clothes initially sawn by the trafficking victims. Each doll is unique and represents the womens’ struggle to survive.

Flower Girls
installation, mixed media, dimensions variable, 2022
Gathering around the table transforms nourishment into a social event and a biological need into a series of human relations, dynamics and interactions. The Flower Girls are reintroducing themselves with a new work named Rituals, a piece that reveals the recurring rituals, an important part of their practice that time and time again leads them to the creation of original work. Far removed from the glitz and glam of the performance art establishment, the viewer will enter the dark realm of yards, rose spikes and insects, for the purpose of clandestinely collecting precious materials that are to be transformed into flowery delicacies, as carriers of the group's ideas. 

Marina Gioti & Christelle Makris
Nor Slave / Nor Missis / Just Bourgeois Data
installation, video (color, silent, loop), ceramic vessel (glazed stoneware), 2011 / 2022
Is washing the dishes a daily meditation, a way to get velvety hands? Can cleaning the windows make a woman high reaching nirvana? Sourced from the 80’s Greek TV, the video loop suggests an endless process towards the elimination of gendered advertising we all grew up with. Ammoniasol (Gioti,2011) is hosted in the interior of the ceramic container by Makris (2022). The new AJAX ceramic bottle bears a subtle inscription in the ingredients: Makris re-appropriates a catchphrase sprayed in the Athenian center translated “NOR SLAVE / NOR MISSIS”, humorously tagging along her own feminist take “JUST BOURGEOIS DATA”.

Theodora Malamou & Myrto Xanthopoulou  
Pure Morning
photography, dimensions variable, 2022 
Hats have been ever present in photographic portraits, especially in the past, they indicated gender, social status, formality. Prompted by the portrait of Sofia Laskaridou and Thalia Flora-Karavia, the contemporary artists pose wearing hats of their own creation. A century later, questions of gender conventions, self-determination and the recognition of women as professional artists remain open: a war of expectations, imperatives and contradictions is being fought on our heads. The “hats” are bearers of messages, they are shields, banners and radars. They advocate, protect and celebrate the fluidity and stability of friendship that slips and survives “A friend in need is a friend indeed”.

digital projection of oil painting, 19th century
curatorial addition in dialogue with the artworks of the exhibition
Cousins Marie-Euphrosyne Spartali-Stilmann, Mary Kassavetis-Zambaco and Aglaia Coronio were known in London as the "Three Graces" because of their extravagant beauty. Model-muses of Pre-Raphaelite painters -but also painters themselves-, they were praised for their allure while remained on the margins; their personalities and way of life did not keep pace with the customs of the Victorian era, and the fact of their Greek origin stigmatized them as "foreign". In the painting by Edward Burne-Jones “The Mill“ (1870-1882, V&A / London) all three are depicted dancing by the river to the music of Apollon.

original series trailer, 1’28’’, 1989-1992
curatorial addition in dialogue with the artworks of the exhibition
And yet, the three Charites were actually four. Olga, Maria, Irene and Bebeka, who raised us, accompanied us, their daily life became our own. Why hide it anyway, they still do keep us company in constant replay. We kindly thank creators Michalis Reppas / Thanassis Papathanassiou and MEGA TV for the granting to the rights of the original series trailer. 

excerpt from the film, 19’, 2017
curatorial addition in dialogue with the artworks of the exhibition
Since 1958, the Smurf Village functions as a psychograph of human society. There is a smurf for each one of us. Passing the magical Forbidden Forest to the adventurous search for the Lost Village, the smurfs will find themselves in front of a great surprise: they have never been alone. Smurfette is not the only smurf girl, while we are introduced to Smurf Willow, the female leader of the Lost Village. Oh no, will Gargamel find out?